THE roads of south-west Victoria have been a successful hunting ground for New Zealand Cyclist Sam Horgan in the past 12 months.
In August last year he claimed a thrilling victory in the Tour of The Great South Coast, clinching overall victory by just four seconds.
Two months later he returned to the region, claiming an emphatic victory in the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic.
The Budget Forklifts team cyclist’s achievements have been modest since his Melbourne to Warrnambool win, but his training schedule has been aggressively geared towards defending his Great South Coast crown when it rolls back into the region on August 13.
Team boss Cameron Watt said the Tour of The Great South Coast was “super special” to the team.
“Because the course has so many variations, it is probably the hardest lead to defend of any event on the National Road Series calendar. It’s an awesome tour,” Watt said.
“The region is a happy hunting ground for Sam and he will be backing up, looking for another win.”
The Budget Forklifts unit, which has fine-tuned its Great South Coast Tour preparation with races in the United States and Canada, will field a talented eight-man team in the five-day, 565km event, which will start with a 30-lap criterium in Mount Gambier’s central business district on August 13.
Watt believes there are two stages on the eight-stage tour which have the capacity to bring even the best of teams undone.
They are stage two, a 65km 10-lap race around a 6.5km circuit at Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake, and the 93km stage four road trek from Heywood to Casterton on August 15.
“If ever there are stages designed to lose the leader’s jersey and see a team crumble, it’s those two,” Watt said.
“In fact there are about six stages in the tour which are launching pads to put teams under pressure.”
The tour, which offers $20,000 prizemoney, will feature stages in Mount Gambier, Port MacDonnell, Portland, Heywood, Casterton, Koroit and Peterborough before finishing with a 50km criterium on Port Fairy’s oceanfront on Sunday, August 17.
Entries close on August 4.